This December I will be spending most of the month at my parent's house in Orange County. Lost is done for now until further strike-related notice. So it's Mom, Dad, Grandma, and me all under one roof. My lack of seniority puts me on the day bed in the living room.
By the way Hawaii has ruined me for California winters and thus winters almost anywhere else. My girlfriend is from Milwaukee and I've made it quite clear that the only window in the year that I will even consider visiting her home town is during the months that don't end in BER or ARY.
My mom is the sole caregiver for both my father and my grandmother. This is no easy task. I know this because during my stays at home I take on some of the responsibilities as well as do things that she has been saving for my eventual return. (Like move furniture and hang Christmas lights.)
So when lunch comes around it's got it's own routine. Once we get the food ready to serve. Mom summons Abuela while I bring my dad downstairs. (This is only because I am here; it is too difficult for her to bring him down everyday for a half hour lunch.)
She serves them on what I like to call "cafeteria" plates. They are large plastic plates which are compartmentalized into three sections, one half and two quarters. I serve myself on what I like to call a "normal" plate and sat down with everyone to eat. That is when I made a discovery. The "cafeteria" plate is the best choice for this system because if the meal should not require a knife (in this case salmon) a "normal" plate does not provide an adequate surface for which to push your vegetable medley against to get it on your fork. A "cafeteria" plate is full of surfaces to push stuff against.
Now this is where a "normal" person would get up and grab a knife. Of course this is also where another "normal" person will just push the kernels onto his fork with his finger. If you find that gross I'll have you know that I saw my grandma do the same thing today when she was served on a "normal" plate. This wasn't a joke I was playing on my grandmother I couldn't find a clean "cafeteria" plate, but don't worry I got it all squared away and all "cafeteria" plates are present and accounted for.
You see folks, it's all about cutting the right corners. A knife-less lunch means less time spent washing dishes. A "cafeteria" plate means less time spent washing hands.